My Favorite Dessert Spots in London

London is one of my all-time favorite cities! From the history to the culture to the food there is so much to fall in love with during a visit. It may be a while before I’m able to get back across the pond so until then I thought I’d share some of my favorite dessert spots that I’ve found during my three visits to this amazing city.

Peggy Porschen Cakes

If you spend time on Instagram chances are you’ve seen the famous pink parlours and beautiful outdoor floral displays of Peggy Porschen’s. Founded in 2003 with their first parlour opening in 2010 they specialize in cupcakes, layer cakes, and intricate latté art. Their parlour in Chelsea also serves breakfast, lunch, cocktails, and a weekend brunch in addition to sweet treats. They have a café menu that features the classics in addition to some seasonal special additions. I didn’t have the chance to visit during my January term abroad so I knew that when I went back with my mom last January that we had to go. You have the option to sit inside or outside year-round (being that it was January we opted for inside, but there were still brave people sitting outside). If you know me or have looked through the majority of recipes on my blog then you know that I absolutely love cupcakes and these did not disappoint. I had the Chocolate Heaven and my mom had the Chocolate Raspberry that was a part of her Valentine’s Day collection. They were both amazing and I can’t wait for my next trip to London to sample some of her other creations. If you’re in London and looking for a sweet treat I highly recommend a stop here.

Locations: Belgravia (the original, opened in 2010) and Chelsea (opened in spring 2019)

Website: https://www.peggyporschen.com

The Hummingbird Bakery

We discovered The Hummingbird Bakery during our first visit to London in 2013 and after walking by it a few times we decided to stop in. The bakery was founded in 2004 as an American-style bakery with the goal of introducing American home baking to London. Today they have six locations across London and specialize in cakes and cupcakes. They also serve other American-style baked treats including brownies, pies, and cheesecakes. The bakery is also noted for introducing Red Velvet to the UK and helping it gain popularity. One year for Christmas I received their cookbook and I’ll have to flip through and find some recipes to share. I can’t remember what flavors everyone selected when we stopped in, but I know that I had a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. I remember being so excited that I had found cupcakes in London and wanting to go back during my other visits but running out of time. If you’re looking for another bakery to try in London this one is a must.

Locations: Notting Hill, Richmond, Soho, South Kensington, Spitalfields, Islington

Website: https://hummingbirdbakery.com

Amorino Gelato

I was introduced to Amorino through friends while studying abroad in London in January 2018. Even though it was January that couldn’t stop us from visiting as many times as we could during our three-week trip. Amorino was founded in 2002 as an Italian gelato company in Paris. Today they have locations throughout Europe, the United States, Asia, and Mexico. Their specialty is the Amorino rose which allows you to try as many gelato flavors as you’d like. They also serve gelato filled macaroons, milkshakes, sorbet drinks, and gourmet cups. My personal favorite was a cup of Hazelnut gelato (tastes just like Nutella) with a chocolate macaroon on top. I loved Amorino so much during my time in London that I even dragged my family to the one in Chicago while we were there. If you’re looking for a way to cool down during London’s hot summer months or just want a little pick me up while walking around the city I highly recommend a stop to Amorino.

Locations (London): Charing Cross, Chelsea, Covent Garden, Camden, Clampham, Edgware Road, Goodge Street, Islington, Long Acre, Notting Hill, Queensway, Soho, Westfield-Stratford

Locations (US): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, New Orleans, Raleigh, Houston, Fort Worth, Plano, Beverly Hills, San Francisco (2), Kalamazoo

Website: https://www.amorino.com/us/

Harrods Food Hall

Harrods is one of the most famous department stores and shopping destinations in London. Located on the fourth floor of the store you could easily spend hours in the food halls within Harrods. From a champagne bar to cheese boards to intricately decorated desserts they have it all. Whether you’re dining in or taking something to go this a must-visit for foodies. I, of course, made a stop at the patisserie and selected a chocolate cupcake that had been calling my name as I passed it to get a glimpse of all of the different stations.

Location: Knightsbridge

Website: https://www.harrods.com/en-us/departments/harrods-food-halls?icid=megamenu_shop_food-drinks_in-store_the-food-halls

I’ll just be here dreaming of the next time I can enjoy a cupcake or gelato in my favorite city! If you’re in London be sure to check a few of these popular spots out.

Cheers!!

Caroline

Irish Soda Bread Version Two

Happy Wednesday!

I know St. Patrick’s Day is technically over, but I figured I’d share another easy Irish Soda Bread recipe that you can make while stuck at home (thanks quarantine). We celebrated yesterday at home with a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage. I’m sure we’ll have another delayed celebration when everyone is allowed out and about again. This particular recipe comes from the other side of my family and differs slightly from the one in my previous post. I think I may like this version better (sorry Nana!). Comparing the two recipes I found that this recipe turned out to be moister and the raisins were more evenly distributed throughout. I’ll include the recipe and a photo of the finished product below.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe Version Two

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (brown or white)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk (if you use milk add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to sour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, currants/raisins, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  2. Add the milk
  3. Stir until the dry ingredients are moistened
  4. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly with floured hands
  5. Cover with bowl and let rest for 5 minutes
  6. Shape into a round loaf and place on a greased baking sheet or 8 inch round cake pan
  7. With a sharp knife cut across the top of the loaf
  8. Bake at 350 degrees until slightly brown and crusty (roughly 30-40 minutes)

I hope you all had a great St. Paddy’s Day! Stay tuned for more posts coming soon.

Enjoy!

Xx

Caroline

Irish Soda Bread

Happy (almost) St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m starting the celebration early by sharing one of my favorite recipes to make (and eat) around this time of year…Irish Soda Bread. Being 75% Irish I’ve grown up eating this recipe and I finally got my hands on it while making it with my grandma last year. It’s something we love year-round, but especially around St. Paddy’s Day. I had the chance to try a few different varieities during my short time studying abroad in Ireland and after more research, her recipe is similar to most of the ones you’ll get from a Google search. Some have caraway seeds, some have raisins, and some are darker in color almost resembeling wheat bread. I’ve gotten her permission to share it with all of you below.

Fun Fact: Irish Soda Bread didn’t originate in Ireland – the American Indians were the first to use soda ash or sodium carbonate in their breads. To get the baking soda or sodium bicarbonate as it is also known that we have today soda ash is mined then refined using carbon dioxide and finally purified. This type of bread gained popularity in Ireland during the time of the potato famine because it was so inexpensive to put on the table. 

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large tablespoon Crisco
  • 1/2 cup raisins (you can use golden or regular)
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk (you can also sour the milk with 1 tablespoon white vinegar for the same effect)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  1. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes
  2. Mix flour and Crisco together till fine
  3. Add sugar, baking powder, and baking soda
  4. Stir in milk then add raisins
  5. Note: This mixture works best when you use your hands (make sure they are clean and have flour on them so the dough doesn’t stick)
  6. Form dough into bread shape and place on a cookie sheet

Christmas Eve Dessert – 2019

Today, I’m here to share the Christmas Eve dessert that my sister and I made for our family celebration this year. Going into this year’s dessert we knew how we wanted to decorate the cake, the hard part was deciding on the flavor/frosting combo. For the cake, we used a Barefoot Contessa recipe and it has become one of my favorite chocolate cakes to date! Her recipes are easy to follow and require simple ingredients which makes them perfect for a baker of any skill level. We then chose two different buttercream frostings (one for the middle and one for the outside) to finish our cake off. I’ll share that recipe as well as both buttercream recipes that we used below.

Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Ganache Cake

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups Hershey’s chocolate syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Note: This recipe makes one 8-inch round so I doubled the recipe to get two 8-inch rounds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar in the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overheat or the cake will be tough.
  3. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the cake is just set in the middle. Let cool completely in the pan before transferring.

Food Network’s Chocolate American Buttercream

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine salt
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • Note: We used this for in between our cake layers

Directions

  1. Combine butter and cocoa powder in the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined. Add the vanilla and salt.
  2. Continue to mix on low speed, adding the sugar a cup at a time while alternating with the milk. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to mix until smooth.
  3. Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to three days.

Gale Gand’s Quick Buttercream Frosting (Found on Food Network)

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup butter (I used unsalted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

Directions

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk mix together butter and sugar. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and blend for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more. Add more cream, if needed, to make buttercream a spreadable consistency.

Decoration

  • For decoration, we used cranberries that we had dipped in corn syrup and then rolled in sugar along with sprigs of rosemary

3 Easy Christmas Treats

Hi guys!

I can’t believe that Christmas Eve is one week from today. December has absolutely flown by! I’m sharing three easy Christmas themed recipes if you are in need of a last-minute dessert for Christmas parties.

Reindeer Chow (Puppy Chow with a few mix-ins)

Ingredients

  • 9 cups Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Chocolate Chex cereal or combo
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Measure cereal and set aside.
  2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High for 1 minute stir. Microwave until the mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Pour mixture over cereal stirring until evenly coated. Place the mixture in a 2-gallon plastic bag.
  4. Add powder sugar, seal bag. Shake until well coated then add in M&M’s and pretzel pieces. Place on a baking sheet to cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Christmas Rolo Pretzels

Ingredients

  • Pretzels (I always use the circle ones that come out around this time, but regular pretzels will work too)
  • Christmas M&M’s
  • Rolo Candies

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Place pretzel rings flat on a baking sheet. Place Rolo candies inside pretzel rings.
  3. Place in the oven and leave them in there for 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on them because they will melt.
  4. Once they come out of the oven place an M&M on top of the Rolo. Let cool before moving them.

Christmas Rice Krispie Bars

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package (10 oz) marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies Cereal (Holiday Edition)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Add cereal and stir until coated.
  3. Using butter spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2 pan coated with cooking spray. Cool and then cut into squares.

I hope you enjoy!

Xoxo Caroline

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix Review

It’s no secret that pumpkin is one of my all-time favorite flavors. I could eat pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins year-round and never get tired of them. The Breadsmith pumpkin muffins are my personal favorite!

I’ve recently become a big fan of Trader Joes after seeing some of the other bloggers that I follow on Instagram sharing their favorite finds. One of those finds happens to be their pumpkin bread and muffin mix. I’ve been looking for pumpkin muffins and bread that would be similar to Breadsmith and I think this mix is as close as I can get while baking at home. I’ve made it both as muffins and as a loaf and they were equally as good. Muffins may be the way to go if you’re looking for a quick on-the-go snack while a loaf may be better for holiday brunches or parties. The recipe is super simple and only requires three additional ingredients. I baked it in my new Le Creuset bread pan and it was the most even bake I’ve gotten with bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 Full Package of Mix
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup Water

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a standard 9 x 5 bread pan with butter or cooking spray (I used cooking spray and had no issues).
  • Combine eggs, oil, and water in a medium bowl. Add mix. Fold together with rubber a spatula until batter is smooth.
  • Spread batter in the pan, making sure it fills the corners and the top is level.
  • Bake bread for 55-60 minutes (mine took closer to 65-70). Allow cooling for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease the muffin tin or use muffin liners. Fill 2/3 of the way full.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Xoxo,

Caroline

Pumpkin Spice Trifle

Hi guys!

Are you looking for the perfect fall dessert to bring to upcoming Friendsgiving’s, Thanksgiving’s, or holiday parties? Well, then I have you covered! My aunt recently made this Pumpkin Spice Trifle that she found on Pinterest from the blog Loves Bakes Good Cakes and after she got rave reviews I knew I had to share the recipe. If you’re a pumpkin lover like I am this is the perfect treat for you. It’s super simple to make and sure to be a hit!

Ingredients

  • 1 box spice cake mix (you could also use a pre-made one from the grocery store or homemade if you have a recipe)
  • Ingredients listed on the back of the box to prepare the cake mix
  • 1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tubs (8 ounces each) of whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed

Directions

  • Prepare and bake cake according to the directions on the box. Allow to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, crumble to cake in a large bowl and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined. Gently stir in one tub of whipped topping and set aside.
  • In a trifle bowl, layer one-fourth of the cake crumbs. Top with half of the pumpkin cheesecake mixture. Add another crumb cake layer. Top with the remaining tub of whipped topping. Add another layer of cake crumbs. Top with the rest of the pumpkin cheesecake mixture. Then add the remaining cake crumbs to the top.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate until it’s time to serve. Make sure to refrigerate any leftovers.
  • Makes 24 servings.

Photo courtesy of LilLuna.com on Pinterest

Link to the original recipe and blog post on Love Bakes Good Cakes: https://www.lovebakesgoodcakes.com/pumpkin-spice-trifle/

I’m Back!

Hi guys!

It has been a long time since I’ve taken the time to sit down and update this site. I had every intention of keeping things updated with new recipes throughout college, but living in a dorm for the first two years and then not having a full kitchen of goodies at my disposal the next two years put a damper on the baking. The past four years flew by quicker than I could have ever imagined and the blog took a bit of a back seat during my time away.

Now that I’m back home I am so excited to get back in the swing of things and to keep sharing my favorite recipes, tips, and tricks with all of you.

Make sure to check back often for new posts and follow me on Instagram to see what I’m baking.

Xoxo,

Caroline

Christmas Eve Dessert

Merry Christmas!!

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season! Christmas Eve Dessert is one dessert that I always look forward too. Usually my sister and I make whatever appears on the cover of the Bon Appetit Christmas issue but the past few years I have been unimpressed. This year we decided to try something different. I found this recipe from Food Network star Duff Goldman in People Magazine and I have to say it is a new favorite! It it one of the easiest cakes and frosting that I have ever made. 

Chocolate Cake Recipe 

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 cups sugar 

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1 cup butter (2 sticks)

• 1/2 cups brewed coffee

• 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

• 3 extra-large eggs

• 1/2 cup buttermilk 

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

American Buttercream Recipe

• 2 cups butter, softened 

• 6 cups powdered sugar

• 1/4 cup milk

• 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

• Pinch of kosher salt

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 (9 inch) round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Grease tops of paper.

2. Whisk together flour and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl. 

3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Whisk in coffee, cocoa powder, and 1/2 cup water; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk butter mixture into flower mixture until blended. 

4. Which together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, whisking until blended and smooth. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

5. Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. 

6. Frost with American Buttercream. 

Frosting Directions 

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl of electric mixer. Best on low sore with whisk attachment 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Then best at medium speed until creamy. 

Credit to Duff Goldman and People Magazine for this recipe

Stay tuned for some more recipes!!

Enjoy! 

Xoxo,

Caroline 

   
 

Barnaby Bunny Cake

Happy Easter! 

Today I am sharing my all time favorite dessert to make for Easter, the Barnaby Bunny Cake. My mom has been making one since she was little and it quickly became a tradition. It is so simple to make and so festive. We brought one to our Easter brunch and it was a hit! 

Ingredients

  • Vanilla Cake Mix
  • Vanilla Frosting
  • Coconut
  • Jellybeans, I used Brachs 
  • Red food coloring
  • Licorice 

Directions

  1. Bake cake mix according to box. Make sure to use round cake pans!
  2. Let cake cool. Then move to a cookie sheet or tray for decorating.
  3. Leave one round cake the way it is while cutting the other into 3 pieces: 2 ears and a bow tie. 
  4. Frost cake completely.
  5. Cover with coconut. We usually leave the bow tie without coconut incase not everyone likes it.
  6. Die some coconut red for the ears, see picture below!
  7. Add jelly beans for the eyes and nose.
  8. Add licorice for the mouth.
  9. Enjoy! 

  

We added some of the cake balls that I posted yesterday around the cake for some extra decoration! I hope you all had an amazing Easter.

Stay tuned for some spring recipes in the next few weeks!

Xoxo,

Caroline